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A Different Slant

by Brian Robison
(currently aliased as Dr. Brian Robison, associate professor of music at MIT)

Once upon a time, in a small town west of Philadelphia, a high school student wrote a regular column for his local newspaper, the East Branch Citizen.  This column appeared on Thursday, December 20, 1979.

It is the East Branch Citizen's dubious honor to be the first newspaper to report the latest political revolution -- the most recent coup d'etat -- on Earth.  This political overthrow has taken place not in southeast Asia, not in Africa, not in the South or Central America, but at the North Pole.  A mob of radical elves has "rid the North Pole" of the "decadent cruel regime of the corrupt Santa Claus."

The revolution first began to take root in 1975 when dissatisfied elf, Hoagie Krogmeyer, published a pamphlet pointing out how Santa was living a life of luxury at the expense of his little helpers.  To give you an idea of the book's accusations, here is a short excerpt:

"We must awaken to the evil that is visible in Santa.  He gives us barely enough food to survive, such that our growth is stunted to a mere three feet in height.  Whereas, he indulges in such gluttony that his belly shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly.

"On top of this, he drinks to excess.  His cheeks are rosy and his nose is redder than Comrade Rudolf's.  His eyes are so merry that one cannot help but wonder what's in his pipe."

Egged on by propaganda such as this, the elves finally revolted.  Santa fled for his life.  But all his visa applications have been rejected, since no government believes in his existence.  He is still wanted back at the North Pole to be put on trial for crimes against the elvish people.  The reigning elves are also threatening not to deliver any toys on Christmas Eve until Santa is handed over to them.

This entire situation has greatly alarmed many of the world's remaining monarchs, such as the Easter Bunny. the Forecasting Groundhog, the King of the Leprechauns, and Jerry Brown.  (True, he's not a monarch, but he's just as believable as the others.)


Is it truly open season on reindeer on Christmas Eve?

Can your roof support the weigh of eight reindeer, a loaded sleigh, and an obese deposed ruler?

Is your Christmas tree animal, mineral, or vegetable?

Did you remember to extinguish the fire?






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